When Marti and I were first married we spent several months in Northern Ireland, a deeply enriching experience. Although I had grown up in a Christian family, I met Christian men in Northern Ireland who were very different. So many of them had a tenderness mixed with their unmistakable masculinity. I had never heard men talk about the beauty of bird-song or discuss poetry. I must add that my own dad loved poetry, but I don’t think he found like-minded men among his friends. Those Irish men inspired me!
We stayed in touch with many friends in N.I. and visited regularly for years afterward. At one point we had the great privilege of close relationship with a large fellowship which had emerged out of the move of the Holy Spirit in the 1970s. The fellowship was packed with very gifted musicians and they had a wonderful ability to find outstanding historical hymns and to then put them to modern (updated) melodies—often with a strong beat. As I think about it now I can still visualize and hear their meeting hall filled with joyful music, their stamping feet keeping rhythm along with the drums and men praising God with all their might.
Since then, I have been drawn to any efforts to resurrect some of the wonderful old hymns – – hymns that are moving and convey Biblical truths and often excellent theology. I have listened again and again to The Second Chapter of Acts and their two volumes of hymns. To my great joy, I recently happened across another group of musicians who have given new life to some old hymns. Their two volumes of hymns were recorded more than a decade ago, but I just found them via Spotify.
One hymn in particular moved me to tears the first couple of times I heard it. “O Sacred Head Now Wounded” was written nearly a thousand years ago by Bernard of Clairvaux. It has been set to different music from time to time in the intervening centuries. The Africa-born group, Selah, have produced a deeply inspirational version with a great arrangement and perfectly matched vocals.
The YouTube link below will enable you to read and meditate on the ancient lyrics, packed with deep content. I hope you have the time to listen again and again and let the Holy Spirit draw you closer to Jesus!